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Economic Data

Welcome to the ‘Economic Data’ section of Insight DIY, which includes a summary of all of the key UK economic indicators that you may need to know within your business. Each of these key indicators are updated as and when they are released by their various sources and provide a really valuable addition to any monthly report or business overview.

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

House prices rise by a modest 2.6% in 2017 

  • UK annual house price growth ended 2017 at 2.6%, compared with 4.5% in 2016.
  • London weakest performing region, with house prices down 0.5% year-on-year.
  • Significant differences in regional affordability, but saving for a deposit remains challenging for most 

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: 

Annual house price growth ended the year at 2.6%, within the 2-4% range that prevailed throughout 2017. This was in line with our expectations and broadly consistent with the 3- 4% annual rate of increase we expect to prevail over the long term (which is also our estimate for earnings growth in the long run).

“However, this marked a modest slowdown from the 4-6% rates of house price growth recorded in 2016. Low mortgage rates and healthy employment growth continued to support demand in 2017, while supply constraints provided support for house prices. However, this was offset by mounting pressure on household incomes, which exerted an increasing drag on consumer confidence as the year progressed.

“The impact of previous policy changes (including additional stamp duty on second homes, changes to tax deductibility of landlord expenses and lending criteria) meant that demand from buy to let investors remained subdued in 2017. 

Period: December 2017

Release Date: December 2017
Next Release Date: January 2018

Nationwide are the world's largest building society and one of the UK's largest mortgage providers. They have the longest unbroken run of house price data, stretching back to 1952 on a quarterly basis and 1991 on a monthly basis. Here you can access their monthly and quarterly house price reports, special features and download data series. 

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.4% between Quarter 2 (Apr to June) and Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2017, unrevised from the second estimate of GDP.

  • Services remained the strongest contributor to growth in the output approach to GDP in Quarter 3 2017, with production also providing a positive contribution.

  • Household spending grew by 0.5% in Quarter 3 2017, providing the strongest contribution to the expenditure approach to GDP; while growth has increased compared with the first two quarters of 2017, the underlying story is one of a slowdown in growth of household spending, with quarter on same quarter a year ago growth at 1.0%, the lowest rate since Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2012.

  • This GDP release includes annual benchmarks for 2016 and the incorporation for the first time of administrative VAT turnover to estimate the output of small businesses, the latter an important step in the transformation of the data sources used in economic statistics. 

  • More broadly, the profile of GDP between Quarter 1 2016 and Quarter 3 2017 is little changed compared with earlier estimates; the most notable feature was the economy performed slightly stronger than previously estimated in the second half of 2016 leading to GDP growth in 2016 being revised up by 0.1 percentage points to 1.9%. 

  • GDP per head was estimated to have increased by 0.2% between Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 2017.

Release Date: 22nd December 2017
Next Release Date: 29th March 2018

Preliminary, second and final estimates of GDP released over a quarter as more data becomes available. The final estimate is published in the Quarterly National Accounts. GDP is the main measure of UK economic growth based on the value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Main points

  • In the latest three months the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 0.4% compared with the previous three months; while the underlying pattern remains one of growth, this is the weakest quarterly growth since the decline of 1.2% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2017.

  • On the month, the quantity bought decreased by 1.5% when compared with strong sales in November 2017. 

  • In December 2017, the quantity bought increased by 1.4% when compared with December 2016, with positive contributions from all stores except food stores.

  • For the whole of 2017, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.9%; the lowest annual growth since 2013. 

  • In non-seasonally adjusted terms, shopping for Christmas has shifted in recent years from being mainly in December to more in November as consumers seem to be starting their purchasing earlier in line with Black Friday promotions.

  • Internet sales continued to increase when compared with previous years, with physical stores dominating online sales growth in December.

Period: December 2017

Released: 19th January 2018
Next Release Date: 16th February 2018

A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.

Source: Office for National Statistics


Bank of England Base Rate

Bank of England

Current Bank Rate: 0.5%
Previous Month’s Bank Rate: 0.5%

Release Date: 14th December 2017
Next Release Date: 8th February 2018

Source: Bank of England

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.7% in December 2017, down from 2.8% in November 2017.

  • Following a steady increase from late 2015, since April 2017 the CPIH rate has levelled off, ranging between 2.6% and 2.8%.

  • The downward effect came mainly from air fares, along with a fall in the prices of a range of recreational goods, particularly games and toys.

  • The downward contributions were partially offset by an increase in tobacco prices, reflecting duty increases that came into effect following the Autumn Budget, along with an increase in petrol and diesel prices.

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 3.0% in December 2017, down from 3.1% in November 2017.

Release Date: 16th January 2018
Next Release: 13th February 2018

Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation. 

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Producer Price Inflation (PPI)

Producer Price Index

Main points

  • The headline rate of inflation for goods leaving the factory gate (output prices) rose 3.3% on the year to December 2017, up from 3.1% in November 2017.

  • Prices for materials and fuels (input prices) rose 4.9% on the year to December 2017, down from 7.3% in November 2017.

  • All industries provided upward contributions to output annual inflation; the largest contribution was made by food products.

  • Prices of imported materials and fuels increased 4.5% on the year to December 2017, down from 6.7% in November 2017.

Period: December 2017 

Changes in the prices of goods bought and sold by UK manufacturers including price indices of materials and fuels purchased (input prices) and factory gate prices (output prices).

Release Date: 16th January 2018
Next Release: 13th February 2018

Source: Office for National Statistics

BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image
  • Covering the four weeks 29 October – 25 November 2017

  • In November, UK retail sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from November 2016, when they had increased 0.6% from the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales rose 1.5% in November, against a growth of 1.3% in November 2016. This is in line with the 3-month and 12-month averages of 1.4% and 1.5% respectively.
  • Over the three months to November 2017, In-store sales of Non-Food items declined 3.0% on a Total basis and 3.7% on a Like-for-like basis. On a 12-month basis, the total decline was 2.2%, the deepest since our records began in January 2012.
  • Over the three months to November, Food sales increased 2.8% on a like-for-like basis and 4.0% on a total basis. This remains above the 12-month Total average growth of 3.4%, the highest 12-month average since March 2013.
  • Over the three-months to November, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased 1.2% on a like-for-like basis and 0.6% on a total basis, below the 12-month Total average growth of 0.0%. This is the lowest 3-month average Total Non-Food growth since May 2011, excluding Easter distortions.
  • Online sales of Non-Food products grew 6.5% in November, below the 3-month and 12-month averages of 7.3% and 8.0% respectively. Online penetration rate increased from 26.3% in November 2016 to 27.4% in November 2017, the highest on record.”

Release Date: 5th December 2017
Next Release Date: February 2018

Source: KPMG Monitor

NHBC - New Build Statistics/New Registrations

NHBC flag

Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 44,963
Total Registrations (Rolling Q1 March to May 2016): 40,641
Percentage Change: +11%.

Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 32,561
Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 31,215
Percentage change: +4%

Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2017): 12,402
Public and Affordable Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr March to May 2016): 9,426
Percentage change: +32%

The continued upturn in affordable sector registrations can be attributed to a number of larger Housing Associations developing homes for market rent, private sale and shared ownership along with an increase in joint ventures with the private sector.

Over the rolling quarter nine of the 12 UK regions experienced growth, with West Midlands (+56%), Yorkshire & Humberside (+34%) and the North West (+26%) among the fastest growing areas, when compared to the same time last year.

As the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK, NHBC's registration statistics, representing approximately 80% of the new homes market, are a lead indicator of UK house-building activity.

Commenting on the latest figures, NHBC Business Development Director Neil Jefferson said: "It is encouraging to report another positive month of growth in the sector, with levels in May ahead of those seen this time last year. We have seen increases in the levels of new home registrations in both the private and affordable sector and in nine out of 12 UK regions."

Release Date: 5th July 2017
Next Release: August 2017

Source: NHBC

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit logo

Index: 54.8 – June 2017
Previous month: 56.0 – May 2017

Publication date: 4th July 2017
Next publication date: 4th August 2017

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) is a diffusion index incorporating survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country. A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction. Policymakers and traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, rather than waiting for the hard data to emerge.

Source: Markit Economics

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 4.6% (February to April 2017)
Previous annual rate: 5.1% (December 2015 – February 2016) 

  • Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between November 2016 to January 2017 and February to April 2017, the number of people in work increased, the number of unemployed people fell, and the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) also fell.

  • There were 31.95 million people in work, 109,000 more than for November 2016 to January 2017 and 372,000 more than for a year earlier.

  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.8%, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Period covered: February to April 2017

Publication date: 14th June 2017
Next publication date: 12th July 2017

The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using a definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people as those without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. It also includes those who are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Population Figures

UK Census

UK population: 65,648,100 (30th June 2016 estimate)
UK population: 65,110,000 (mid 2015 estimates)
Percentage change: +0.8%

Male: 32.4 million (49.3%)
Female: 33.0 million (50.7%)

Estimated population of England: 55,268,100 (84.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Scotland: 5,404,700 (8.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Wales: 3,113,200 (4.7% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Northern Ireland: 1,862,100 (2.8% of the UK’s population)

Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

Data last updated: 22nd June 2017

Next Update: June 2018

Source: ONS


Insight provides a host of information I need on many of our company’s largest customers. I use this information regularly with my team, both at a local level as well as with our other international operations. It’s extremely useful when sharing market intelligence information with our corporate office.

Paul Boyce - European CEO, QEP Ltd.

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